Jail Diversion and Mental Health Presentation Held on November 13th, 2019

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Oregon (NAMI SO) hosted a presentation by the Sheriff and Health & Human Services Departments of Marion County, as a continued effort to encourage diversion programs in Southern Oregon.

Jail Commander Tad Larson (Institutions Division, Salem) and Ann-Marie Bandfield, MSW (Program Manager, Acute & Forensic Behavioral Health, Marion County Health & Human Services) traveled to Medford to deliver the presentation, which was open to the public. They discussed their success with diversion and de-escalation through collaboration of the two departments. Marion County uses a combination of Mobile Crisis Response Teams (HHS staff riding along with officers), embedded HHS staff in the county jail and community outreach. These efforts began when Marion County was criticized for sending the second-highest number of people to the State Hospital for Aid & Assist. They have reversed that ranking and now send the least number.

NAMI SO brought this presentation as a continuation of the discussions that began after the CAHOOTS presentation in late September. It is NAMI’s hope that additional ideas can be learned from Marion County that might complement the information gathered from CAHOOTS, and wants to continue facilitating the ongoing efforts between Law Enforcement, local governing bodies, health providers and the communities they all serve.

In the US, over 2 million persons with serious mental illness are booked every year.  And in 44 out of 50 states, jails and prisons hold more mentally ill individuals than the state hospitals, making diversion out of jails and into treatment one of NAMI National’s – and Southern Oregon’s – key goals.

NAMI SO would like to thank:

  • Jail Commander Tad Larson and Ann-Marie Bandfield, MSW for sharing their expertise.
  • Medford Police Department for use of their room.
  • United Way of Jackson County and Inn on the Commons for providing lodging to our guests.

Marion County Program

Marion County Crisis Programs